This past summer, my parents and I traveled to Yosemite National Park in California for what I can say was an adventure of epic proportions and grueling obstacles. Our goal was to conquer the Half Dome trail, approximately a 16 mile long round trip from the trailhead up to a large rock, the Half Dome, and back.
The night before the hike, I found myself snuggled into the confines of a warm wooden lodge located about an hour’s drive away from the Half Dome trailhead. My parents and I shared this comfy abode with three other adults who were going to hike with us. We dined on a fabulous feast–a juicy steak, roasted potatoes, and tossed salad–that evening but were suddenly shocked by dismal news. Adults checking the forecast, the weather did not appear to be favorable. In fact, we were expecting a thunderstorm.
The adults’ general consensus was to tackle the trail at midnight and hopefully scale up the Half Dome in the early morning before heavy rain came down. This idea did not sit well for me. For one, the time was already 10 o’clock at night, so I would be only getting two hours of sleep before embarking on what would probably be an arduous 12-hour endeavor. My worries failed to subside as I tried my hardest to fall asleep that night.
Two hours later, I was woken up by one of the adults. By the time I had stumbled by way into the common room in my sleep-deprived stupor, we could already hear the hammering outside. Thump, thump, thump. Mother Nature had foiled our plans to avoid the rain. Though the adults were a little disappointed, I was relieved knowing that I wouldn’t have to hike in my sleepy condition. I happily went back to sleep.
Hours later at around noon, the group of six was ready to take off. The rain had tapered off a few hours ago and left us a window of opportunity to begin our hike. We clomped through the first bit of the trail and were fortunate enough to soak in the beautiful scenery and bathe in the biting mist of a waterfall without having to deal with rain. By the time we had gone three miles, however, the cloudy sky decided it had waited patiently enough. Rain poured out of the skies once again and burdened hikers with soggy clothes and wet backpacks. We donned our rain jackets and pushed through all kinds of terrain in the gloomy weather: rocky terrain, sandy terrain in the Little Yosemite Valley, and the slippery terrain on the Sub Dome rock which preceded the Half Dome.
After we had conquered the difficult terrain of the Sub Dome, we finally made our way to the steel cables and wooden stakes that led hikers up the near-vertical slope to the Half Dome peak. The view was daunting to say the least, and when I finally had to nerve to take hold of the steel cables and begin my ascent, I could feel my legs quake. Wow, it’s a long way down from here. Through aches and a few slips on the surface that was still somewhat wet from the rain, I finally managed to pull my aching body to the top of the Half Dome. I shuddered in relief. Finally! I thought to myself. I was beginning to feel light-headed, so I sat down as my parents celebrated their accomplishment–by posing for pictures of course. I observed a marmot from a comfortable distance and quietly marveled at the Yosemite park’s rich beauty.
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